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News (Archive)

10.20.16

On 10/18, USDA announced the next annual deadlines for its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which provides small businesses and agricultural producers loans and grants to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. 

 -REAP applicants requesting $20,000 or less that wish to have their application compete for the “Grants of $20,000 or less set aside” must be received no later than 4:30pm local time on October 31, 2016 or 4:30 pm local time on March 31, 2017.

-REAP applicants requesting grant funds of over $20,000 or a combination of a grant and guarantee loan, must submit complete applications no later than 4:30pm local time on March 31, 2017.

 USDA also offers grant funding through its Energy Audit/Renewable Energy Development Assistance (REDA) program. This program sets up a “feeder” system for the general REAP grant as it provides up to $100,000 to eligible entities, who then conduct energy audits or provide renewable energy development assistance to rural small businesses and agricultural producers. Applications for this program are due by January 31, 2017. For more information, or to apply, click here

For questions on any of the abovementioned programs and opportunities, please contact Adia Holland, USDA's Energy Coordinator for the Tennessee State Office, at adia [dot] holland [at] tn [dot] usda [dot] gov or 615-783-1373. 

 

10.12.16

 

Question of the Month: What are the current and future medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards?

 Answer:

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (collectively, HDVs) are expected to surpass light-duty vehicle (LDV) emissions by 2030. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 directed the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish fuel efficiency standards for HDVs. Then, in 2010, President Obama announced a new national program to implement coordinated fuel efficiency and GHG emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles. As you may have seen last month, EPA and NHSTA recently finalized the most recent set of requirements under this program.
 First promulgated by EPA and NHTSA in 2011, these coordinated standards are being implemented in two separate phases, beginning with Model Year (MY) 2014 to 2018 (Phase 1, which has now been extended through 2020) and followed by MYs 2021 to 2027 (Phase 2), with some exceptions. Under Phase 1, the GHG emissions and fuel efficiency standards generally increase in stringency in MY 2017, then remain steady through MY 2020. GHG emissions and fuel efficiency standards under Phase 2 of the program increase first in MY 2021, and then again in MYs 2024 and 2027. Although the Phase 2 standards do not begin until MY 2021, manufacturers may need to begin compliance measures beforehand in order to be adequately prepared to meet the targets.
Fuel efficiency and GHG emissions standards are determined differently for each of five regulated heavy-duty (HD) engine and vehicle categories: combination tractors; vocational vehicles; HD engines used in combination tractors and vocational vehicles; trailers used with combination tractors; and HD pickup trucks and vans. For more information on these categories, please refer to the EPA Phase 2 fact sheet.

 

10.11.16

The federal Clean Air Act requires the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate areas as attainment or non-attainment to help implement air quality standards.  In a letter from NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) secretary, Donald van der Vaart, dated September 30, 2016, the State of North Carolina recommended that the entire state be considered in attainment for ozone based on DEQ analysis of the most recent air quality data for the state relative to the October 2015 8-hour standard for ozone.  

Read the full article about this positive news and what impacts, funding and otherwise, are anticipated for our region.

10.11.16

The 2016 Plug-in NC Summit will be held Tuesday, November 15th from 9:00 am - 11:30 am.  
This event will take place at the Park Alumni Center in Raleigh, NC.  This event is free, however, registration is required.  

Click here for more information and to register.

10.10.16

In light of the impact Hurricane Matthew has had on our state this past week, we wanted to share some information resources and a recent article we posted related to resilience.  

With many working to recover from this latest natural disaster, some information resources to support post-Hurricane Matthew efforts and long term planning include the following:

As we recover from Hurricane Matthew, our attention is inevitably drawn to ways we might prepare for and reduce the impacts of future natural disasters.  In a recent report, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy defined resilience as a community’s reduction of and better preparation for risk.  The components of risk – and thus resilience – can be divided into hazards, vulnerability, and capacity to cope.  With North Carolina being no stranger to hazards such as hurricanes and ice storms, community resilience infrastructure should be made a priority for the safety of our communities for both man-made and natural disasters.

It is important to include alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) in community resilience planning efforts since they promote fuel diversification, allowing critical public services to continue, reducing recovery time, and strengthening resiliency to disasters and other emergency events. 

The Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition (CCFC) tracks funding opportunities to help municipalities, regions, and states incorporate alternative fuels in their emergency management planning. In addition, Clean Cities coalitions and coordinators are a valuable resource to emergency management and fleet decision makers by providing information on alternative fuels and connecting them with stakeholders who have experience using alternative fuels.

According to the National Association of State Energy Officials, petroleum products provide 92% of the total energy needed to  supply the transportation sector in the United States. This dependence on petroleum makes communities vulnerable to disasters and emergencies that interrupt petroleum fuel supplies. The CCFC has been assisting the greater Charlotte region for over a decade in the deployment of alternative fuel technologies.  Here  are several ways that alternative fuels/AFVs impact or help community resilience:

  • Encourage fuel diversification;
  • Improve response time and recovery and restoration capabilities;
  • Meet essential public services during times of disaster (e.g., utility restoration, debris removal, evacuation, emergency response, food delivery);
  • Mitigate demand spikes for petroleum fuels;
  • Allow uninterrupted fuel supply (e.g., natural gas is distributed via underground pipeline, so delivery is not disrupted);
  • Advanced vehicle technologies, such as electric vehicle-to-grid can become a power provider
  • Reduce downtime and suppress negative economic impact; and bImprove public confidence in government capability to provide services in times of disaster

As efforts are taken to improve your organization's and community's resilience, don't hesitate to contact the CCFC to discuss project ideas, funding opportunities, and ways to get involved in the Clean Cities network.  This article was originally posted in the Centralina Council of Governments July 2016 e-newsletter.  

10.07.16

Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition is proud to expand its long standing partnership with NC State’s Clean Energy Technology Center through the new Fuel What Matters Campaign. Fuel What Matters is about education and awareness. It’s also about choices. Daily choices. Just about every decision we make during the day has an impact on our environment. This web-based platform is expected to grow our collective ability to share the actions CCFC’s Stakeholders are taking every day to support and improve our communities and environment, while similarly learning new ideas from others.

Get started on making an impact today, no matter how large or small!  Click here to view the Fuel What Matters web site: https://www.fuelwhatmatters.org/

 

10.04.16

 

The NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), Division of Air Quality (DAQ) will provide approximately $231,500 for funding grant projects that reduce diesel emissions through the 2016 Diesel Emissions Reduction Grant (DERG). 

Applications must be received by e-mail, fax or postmarked by Friday, October 28, 2016 to be considered. Please refer to the information below on the five acceptable project types: 

Project Type

Grant Amount Paid

Replacement of diesel vehicle chassis and engine 25%
Idle reduction technology on unregulated or Tier 0 locomotives 40%
Repower of old chassis with new cleaner diesel engine 40%
Clean alternative fuel conversions, where the old chassis is retained but the engine is replaced or converted to an alternative fuel 40%
Retrofits (exhaust type, e.g. diesel particulate filter)  100%

Click here for more information and links to the on-road and non-road applications.

10.03.16

Thank you to all who attended the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition Core Stakeholders Group meeting at UNC-Charlotte Center City Wednesday morning, 9/21/16. Whether you attended or were not able to make it this time, here’s a recap of what was presented along with links to referenced websites and handouts.  Mark your calendar now for our next Core Stakeholder meeting, scheduled for the morning of 11/16/2016.

09.22.16

 

APPLY NOW for GRADE Funds

Grants to Replace Aging Diesel Engines (GRADE) 

$350,000 Available Until October 17, 2016


$350,000 in funding is currently available through the GRADE program administered by Mecklenburg County Air Quality (MCAQ) for qualifying projects.  These sub-grants of up to 50% are for the cost to fleets that want to replace older diesel-powered equipment and vehicles with newer, cleaner vehicles and equipment. 

Equipment must operate at least 75% of time in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Union (NC), or York (SC) counties. To find more information on the grant program or to download the application click here.

Please contact jwager [at] centralina [dot] org (Jason Wager) of the CCFC staff to discuss and develop your project ideas.

Blurry Cars

09.21.16

The greater Charlotte region's National Drive Electric Week event was a great success! The location choice of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center provided busy lunchtime traffic as well as attendance from key City of Charlotte decision-makers. Charlotte's city council environmental subcommittee meeting adjourned early to be in attendance at the event. Many interested visitors stopped to ask questions of our many contributors including: Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, Modern Nissan of Lake Norman, Envision Charlotte, Sustain Charlotte, CATS, Charlotte Department of Transportation, Club Car, GEM Electric, and Charlotte Cycles. There is a strong interest in our community for EV's and other choices in how we get around! Our NDEW event was able to involve a broader cross section of the community and encourage this interest while promoting the excitement of driving electric.

News Coverage: WFAE-90.7 FM - Talking Up The Idea Of An Electric Car

Additional Photos: CCFC Facebook Page

NDEW 2016

Attendees enjoy speaking with Electric Vehicle owners at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 9/12/2016

Centralina Council of Governments
9815 David Taylor Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262

Part of the U.S.
DOE Clean Cities
National Network